Today’s lecture really got me thinking about ethical PR v. not-so-ethical PR. Now, I didn’t say unethical PR because I’m not so sure that it is. I think that some PR campaigns or messages may be a little too far from the ethical standpoint and the line begins to blur. When we discussed in class the practice of astroturfing on behalf of a particular client’s cause, the film “Thank You For Smoking” was brought up. It got me thinking about the ethics of PR and tobacco. Later, when I was watching TV, I saw the commercial with two moms talking about high fructose corn syrup from the Corn Refiners Association. Is it really ethical to try to turn around the image for an ingredient that has had such a negative stigma for so long? Was everyone just simply wrong about high fructose corn syrup all along, or is it possible that the same thing that happened years ago with cigarettes is repeating itself?
I went to the website at the end of the commercial, Sweet Surprise, and found a fact sheet on high fructose corn syrup. The facts all seem credible to me, but is that the “spin” that the PR professionals want us to believe? It makes me wonder if the PR people believe in the cause or only the benefit of their client. Should we expect to see Truth campaigns attacking the Corn Refiners Association like they do the tobacco companies?
If you at a future job, were asked to develop a campaign about something that people digest/inhale and you weren’t sure of the health effects, would you do it? Is that ethical PR or simply not-so-ethical PR?